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Freedom Project: Freedom Café


Freedom Project Brain Café

October 30, 2013 @ 7:00pm

Brown University Granoff Center for the Creative Arts

154 Angell Street, Studio 1

Providence, RI, 02906


Everett’s Brain Cafés are a series of free presentations that create a dialogue at the intersection of science, medicine, the humanities and the arts. They bring together scientists, clinicians, artists, and community members to share their knowledge and experiences in an open dialogue with the audience.

The Freedom Project Brain Café will examine issues related to incarceration, such as the disproportionate number of prisoners of color in the prison system, and the prison system’s default role as society’s solution to addiction and other mental health issues. The evening will also include poetry and personal stories from a Providence native who grew up in the prison system.


Freedom Project Brain Café presenters:

James Gillen, LCDP, CCJP, CRC has been an active recovery leader in New England for more than ten years. The face of recovery in Rhode Island, Jim Gillen has developed a wide-ranging recovery education campaign that has reached thousands of Rhode Islanders from policy makers and academics to homeless people and prisoners.

Gillen has worked at more than 20 schools in the last 10 years as a prevention expert. At schools like The Bridge School, Hope High School, Central High School, Classical High School, and many more, Gillen delivered assembly presentations, designed a consistent curriculum for individual classrooms and grade levels, and provided small group workshops for high risk kids.

Gillen was able to dramatically expand his reach when he began working for the Providence Center in 2008, where he created the Recovery Services Division and serves as the Director of the Anchor Recovery Community Center. Under Gillen’s leadership, the Anchor saw 49,000 visitors in its first year and continues to grow, averaging 6,000 visitors per month. Services at Anchor include peer-facilitated recovery support; 12-step groups; special groups for women, men, veterans, and the Latino community; as well as faith-based support groups, career planning support, health and wellness activities and social events.

James Monteiro grew up in the Mount Hope area of Providence. Like many kids from the neighborhood, James grew up without a father figure in the home and it wasn’t long before he dropped out of school, got caught up in crime, and ended up in and out of the prison system.

While incarcerated in Baltimore, Maryland’s penitentiary, James made a conscious decision to change his life. He worked through feelings of low self esteem, abandonment, neglect, and self-hate, and began to challenge the demons within himself that had held him back for so long. He documented his experience of transformation through a book of spoken word poetry called THE LOST CHILD, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. James will share excerpts from this book at the Brain Café and will discuss his experiences with the audience.

James is currently spearheading the development of the Billy Taylor House, a program that is designed to give youth from the Mount Hope neighborhood workforce development and enrichment opportunities. The program will help provide youth with a sense of identity and pride and an awareness of their own potential.

Abe Henderson grew up in Providence’s South Side. He is currently the Director of Discharge Planning and Case Management at the ACI for the Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence (ISPN). In this role, Abe helps prepare young offenders for release from prison and works with them for six months after their release to help them integrate back into society. He has researched, investigated, and assessed employment training opportunities and rehabilitative, social, and educational service programs for individuals with criminal records. He has assessed and evaluated discharge programs for inmates prior to release at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institute. He has also created and administered nonviolence curricula and programming at ISPN and the ACI.

Nick Horton is the Program Coordinator and Policy Director at OpenDoors, where he currently manages the 9 Yards project.  Since 2005, his work has focused on research and policy changes that decrease recidivism and improve reentry.  He has directed OpenDoors’ successful policy work on issues such as court debt incarceration, prostitution reform, probation revocation, and marijuana decriminalization.  He will be discussing the new 9 Yards program, which is an pilot, intensive reentry support program funded by the Governor’s Workforce Board.


The Freedom Project Brain Café is part of a major new work by Everett Company that will examine issues related to mass incarceration. Freedom Project will be a multidisciplinary documentary theater production that shares the true stories of people who have been marginalized by America’s criminal justice system. Freedom Project will premiere in the winter of 2015 at Brown University’s Granoff Center for the Creative Arts and will then be available for touring through 2017. Click here for more about Freedom Project.


  1. Jodi l glass says:

    I would welcome the opportunity to work with you wonderful folks in the brain cafe. Would love to be called on anytime. Thank you for your continued grace and activism

    • Everett says:

      Thank you Jodi! We hope to see you at the Brain Café Wednesday and we can talk more. I will add you to our email list so you can stay up to date on our events. Thank you for your interest and support! -Everett Staff

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